Crack Willow (Salix fragilis)
Family: Salicaceae or Willow (Poplar)
Leaves: Green and shiny above, pale green to whitish beneath; narrow, often curved, oval, 5" in length, tapering to a sharp tip, coarsely toothed; petiole long (1/4" to 1"); deciduous.
Twigs/buds: Twigs brownish, greenish-brown, yellowish-green, or dark red, shiny; rather thick and stiff, yet brittle. Buds hairy, thin, small, and gummy.
Flowers/fruit: Flowers dioecious; catkins attached to short leafy shoots.
Bark: Furrows deep; ridges narrow.
Wood: Weak wood and/or branch structure; little information available.
General: A small or medium tree (up to 50' tall), native to southwestern Asia and central Europe. Has brittle twigs that tend to break off at their base in storms (hence, the name "crack willow"). Such twigs may actually float down streams and take root in stream banks. Prefers abundant water.
Landscape Use: A large willow with a long petiole (1/4" to 1" long) and brittle twigs that tend to break off at their base. Such twigs may actually float down streams and take root in stream banks. Several campgrounds in Logan Canyon and possibly elsewhere were planted with this willow decades ago. Zones 4-9.
Comments and Limitations:
- Weak wood and/or branch structure.
- Prefers abundant water.